EMMA LEWELL-BUCK: Food strategy lacks concrete proposals to address hunger along with our food supply and its sustainability
The Government’s food strategy - which has arrived six months later than promised - was released this week.
The strategy followed on from the independent review of our food system by Henry Dimbleby.
I met with Henry at the outset of his review and I was pleased to have played a small part in his National Food Strategy.
I am not pleased however with the Government’s response to it.
Henry Dimbleby himself described it as “not a strategy” and warned of more children going hungry, as the Government ignored his recommendation to extend free school meal eligibility.
The chief executive of farming group Sustain, Kath Dalmeny, also said that "this isn’t a strategy,” calling it “a feeble to-do list, that may or may not get ticked”.
This so-called strategy was billed as a way of tackling rising food costs as well as tackling obesity levels, yet it fails to do either of these .
It was billed as backing British farmers, so we can grow and eat more of our own food, again it fails to do this.
As is often the case with this Government, the strategy is a statement of intentions absent of any concrete proposals or plans for delivery.
Once again, rhetoric and reality are far removed from one another .
A cost-of-living crisis is gripping the country, affecting households, farmers and food producers.
Inflation is soaring, while taxes are at their highest in 70 years.
Also, food is rotting in our fields due to labour shortages and war continues in Ukraine following the invasion by Russian forces, impacting on global food supplies.
Meanwhile, a reported 14.5 million people are living in poverty.
The number of households living in food insecurity in the United Kingdom has long been on the increase, with more than 2.6 million children now affected.
The food strategy was an opportunity for this Government to address hunger, along with our food supply and its sustainability.
However, they didn’t do either of these things, because quite simply they can’t be bothered.